The Cardboard Critic (Chris Wray's Blog)

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What I Enjoyed Playing (January 2018), Plus Recent Reviews

Chris Wray
United States
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I'm starting a new series on here where I post, at the start of the month, what I enjoyed playing in past month. I'll limit it to my top 5. I play a decently equal combination of old and new games, so it'll be a nice discussion of the classics and the recent hotness.

What I Enjoyed Playing - January 2018

Werewords Deluxe Edition
I'm fortunate enough to have prototype of the app and the game. The game will be on Kickstarter next month, for a launch later in 2018.

I'm in love with this version of Werewords. Werewords was already one of my favorite social deduction games, but this really takes the game to the next level. The addition of new characters and new ways to play is simply brilliant. I've already logged more than a dozen plays.

I'll be doing a full review and video in the next few weeks.

Heaven & Ale

Heaven & Ale is simply one of the best medium-heavy games I've played in a long time. I'm in love with it, and I've played it three times in the past three days.

If you like Euro games, this is worth checking out. If I had played it sooner, it would have been in my top 10 of 2017.

The game is a worker placement game, but it is perhaps best described as "linear worker placement," in which the spaces to place your workers are in a line, and you can't go backwards in the line.

Everything about it is wonderful: the gameplay, the theme, the artwork, and the graphic design all come together beautifully.

Schotten Totten
I had forgotten how much I loved Schotten Totten and Battle Line. I got this out to show my Mother, who has recently been on kick of wanting to learn new card games, and we both really loved it.

I like the Iello Schotten Totten art and presentation much better than the Battle Line presentation. This was my first experience with the Iello version, and I'm highly impressed.

Puerto Rico (with two expansions)

I love Puerto Rico, and every time I play it, I vow to get it to the table more often. This month I kept that promise, playing it three times.

It never gets old with me. This is a Euro classic, and its a shame it has fallen out of the BGG Top 10.


I've got a full review coming out later this week, but here are some initial impressions. I’ve enjoyed my plays of Smile, and so has my family. This is an interesting, family-friendly card game, and I could see us pulling this one off the shelf with regularity. The comparison to No Thanks! is inevitable. No Thanks! is probably the simpler game in terms of rules complexity, and I think I have a slight preference for that classic, but Smile is charming in its own way, and it is probably the more approachable game, even if there are a few more rules. My family is in love with Smile --- they think it is better than No Thanks! --- and I'm sure this'll be played quite often going forward.


Recent Reviews


The Palace of Mad King Ludwig
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